10 Anime You Should Watch If You Like Cyberpunk 2077

10 Anime You Should Watch If You Like Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 proudly wears its love of anime on its chromed-out sleeves. Proof? Look no further than its many JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure photo mode poses, or the fact that Kaneda’s iconic red motorcycle from Akira is in the game. With Cyberpunk 2077’s game-changing 2.0 update and its just-released expansion, Phantom Liberty now upon us, it only felt right that we recommend anime to sustain your excitement to one day live in a cyberpunk world.

Before you ask, no, Netflix’s smash-hit Cyberpunk: Edgerunners isn’t in the running. That would be far too simple a recommendation given it was produced with the help of developers CD Projekt Red and serves as a prelude to the Cyberpunk game itself. Seeing as how folks immediately flocked to play 2077 shortly after the show hit the streamer last year—causing the once-troubled game to experience a resurgence in Steam popularity, and a plethora of anime-inspired mods to boot—it’s safe to say anyone who’s played 2077 is well aware that Edgerunner slaps.

Read More: Netflix’s Cyberpunk: Edgerunners Tells The Story I Wished For In Cyberpunk 2077

Now that that’s settled, here’s a short round-up of shows thematically similar to Cyberpunk 2077, and where you can watch them.

Akudama Drive

Crunchyroll Dubs / Pierrot

Studio: Pierrot

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

What it’s About: Produced by Danganronpa series creator Kazutaka Kodaka, Akudama Drive follows a group of criminals forced to perform a string of heists lest they be killed, in a futuristic and dystopian Kansai. Think DC’s Suicide Squad film (preferably the James Gunn version) but as an anime. Among the group of criminals is an ordinary girl who is mistakenly marked as a criminal and must work alongside them to avoid being on the receiving end of the town’s brutal “Executioner” police force.

Blade Runner: Black Out 2022

Warner Bros. Japan / CygamesPictures

Studio: CygamesPictures

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

What it’s About: Much like how Edgerunners is set prior to the events of 2077, so too does Blade Runner: Black Out 2022 serve as a prequel for Blade Runner 2049, the 2017 movie starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford. Directed by Cowboy Bebop director Shinichiro Watanabe, Black Out 2022 is an animated short, which you can watch in its entirety above, that recounts how a massive EMP led to a global blackout plummeting the world into the cyber dystopia seen in the Hollywood film. I’ve also heard decent things about Blade Runner’s CG animated series, Black Lotus, so if Black Out 2022 tickles your fancy, maybe check out that anime on Crunchyroll as well.

Bubblegum Crisis

Darkroom Streaming / AIC / Artmic

Studio: AIC, Artmic

Where to Watch: Peacock

What it’s About: After a catastrophic earthquake nearly flattens all of Tokyo, the city is rebuilt as MegaTokyo thanks to the help of the megacorp Genom and its mass-produced robots called Boomers (no, I’m not kidding). However, things take a turn for the worse when, in a Mega Man-esque twist, the mass-produced Boomers start going haywire and use their industrial strength to harm humanity rather than help. Womp womp. Even worse, Boomers can pass as regular, albeit incredibly powerful, humans. Luckily, a ragtag vigilante group of heroines known as the Knight Sabers are there to save the day with the help of their advanced power suits and technical know-how. Think Barbified MaxTac agents, but without the fear that they’ll zero you for jaywalking,

Cyber City Oedo 808

Discotek Media / Madhouse

Studio: Madhouse

Where to Watch: Retro Crush

What it’s About: In Oedo, a city formerly known as Tokyo, cybercriminals are given the option to either rot in prison for the rest of their lives or join the cyber police and have their life sentences reduced with every successful mission. As insurance and incentive to follow orders, criminals are forced to wear collars that will self-destruct if they either don’t complete a job in time or disobey orders. If you’re seeing a pattern in how this Battle Royale-inspired procedure has become cliché in futuristic criminal reform narratives, maybe take this as a wakeup call to vote in your local elections so we don’t wind up turning this into a real thing.

Ergo Proxy

Crunchyroll Dubs / Manglobe

Studio: Manglobe

Where to Watch: Hulu, Crunchyroll

What it’s About: Humanity is on its last legs after an ecological disaster forced people to live in Romdeau, a domed city believed to be the last vestige of civilization. At the center of it all is an investigator named Re-L Mayer who’s hired to investigate a virus that’s causing AutoReivs, humanoid helper bots meant to assist (wealthy) folks with daily chores, to become self-aware and violent against their owners.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

Crispin Freeman / Production I.G 

Studio: Production I.G 

Where to Watch: Adult Swim

What it’s About: Ghost in the Shell has had plenty of movies and anime series since the original 1995 film, but none can hold a candle to the storytelling quality and overall impact of its 2002 anime, Stand Alone Complex. GitS: SAC takes place in a not-too-distant future where virtually anyone can augment their body with cybernetic enhancements to heighten both their physical and mental capacities. Naturally, criminals and terrorist organizations are no exception. This is why organizations like Japan’s Section 9, a private police operation headed by Motoko Kusanagi, exist: to make sure no cybercrime goes unpunished.

Read More: Citizen Sleeper Dev Wants To See Cyberpunk Genre Freed From Stagnation

What makes GitS: SAC so compelling is how each episode plays out kinda like an episode of Law and Order by characterizing an aspect of how the world and its citizens are disrupted by invasive and inhumanly efficient transhumanistic technologies. More often than not, Section 9 is stumped as to whether or not it should rid the world of the mind-altering tech that’s taken their society by storm, which makes the show a provocative watch.

Patlabor: The Mobile Police TV Series

Crunchyroll Store Australia / Sunrise

Studio: Sunrise

Where to Watch: Hidive

What it’s About: Much like how Bubblegum Crisis’s cyber future brought about specialized robots to complete daily tasks, so too does the world of Patlabor with heavy machinery robots called Labors. However instead of coercing criminals to work alongside police to maintain order and civility like in Cyber City Oedo 808, Patlabor’s armed forces pilot giant robots of their own, called Patlabors, to stop lawbreakers from using robots to do crimes. We at Kotaku love anything involving giant robots and strongly recommend you check out this cult-classic anime immediately.

Psycho Pass

Crunchyroll Store Australia / Production I.G

Studio: Production I.G

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

What it’s About: Psycho Pass follows a group of police officers who use an advanced algorithm to scan citizen’s brains to predict whether they’re likely to commit a crime. Should the scan come back positive, regardless of whether the scan is a result of heightened stress or trauma, the system marks the citizen as a criminal beyond rehabilitation and subject to immediate execution. The dire state of this police state is made all the more distressing when newbie cop Akane Tsunemori discovers that the authorities they report back to aren’t who they initially seemed to be.

Read More: Psycho Pass is a Compelling Cyberpunk Mystery (And It’s Only Half Done)

While the anime’s follow-up seasons leave a bit to be desired—namely the absence of one of the first season’s protagonists, Kogami Shinya—overall Psycho Pass does stand the test of time as a harrowing and thought-provoking narrative about how people in positions of power rely too heavily upon technology devoid of sympathy, here going so far as to enact punishment for crimes that may never be committed. Have we learned nothing from Minority Report? The survey says yes.

Serial Experiments Lain

TanxsCW / Triangle Staff

Studio: Triangle Staff

Where to Watch: Hulu

What it’s About: While many of the anime we’re mentioning match the high-octane action of Cyberpunk 2077, no show challenges humanity’s growing co-dependence on technology like Serial Experiments Lain. The show follows Lain Iwakura, a hikikomori (shut-in) junior high schooler questioning the difference between the real world and the internet after receiving an email from a deceased classmate beckoning her to log into a strange website called The Wired. This cult show was so compelling that one viewer hacked MyAnimeList, a popular anime and manga database, and forcibly recommended folks watch it by changing every anime on the website to “Let’s All Love Lain.” Terminally online folks like myself may see more of themselves in this show than they’re comfortable with, so go with god.

Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song

Aniplex / Wit Studio

Studio: Wit Studio

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

What it’s About: Imagine if Hatsune Miku were tasked with going back in time à la The Terminator to prevent the end of humanity at the hands of AI and you have the elevator pitch for Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song. Throughout the show, Vivy, an idol robot programmed to bring smiles to her audience’s faces with her impeccable singing, races against time to alter events that usher in an all-out war between humans and AI. Along the way, Vivy questions the parameters of her directive, particularly those that force her to let innocent bystanders die, as well as her place in the world beyond her primary objective. She also kicks a surprising amount of ass for a robot that was made to sing, which is always a plus.

And there you have it, chooms, a shortlist of cyberpunk anime you can check out whenever you aren’t reliving your corpo, nomad, or street kid life in Night City. As always, be sure to help your fellow anime-afflicted gamers out by recommending even more shows everyone should check out in the comments.

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